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NT Security Classes for .NET

, 19 Feb 2004 CPOL
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A collection of .NET classes written in Managed C++ that faciliate the manipulation of NT security rights


This class library allows access to the Win32 security calls in a .NET friendly way. It encapsulates the concepts of a user, a securable object (like a file, named pipe, directory, etc.), and permissions. This library was written in Managed C++ to simplify the amount of work needed to link to existing Win32 libraries. However, since it exposes all of its functionality via .NET, it can be used from any .NET compliant language, including C# and Visual Basic. The project was written and compiled with Visual Studio 2002.

NOTE: There is a library written by some Microsoft guys on GotDotNet that does much of the same thing and more. It can be found at

This article outlines the primary objects in the library and their use in manipulating security objects.


WindowsUser class

This class represents a single Windows identity (SID). It can be created by specifying either a username ("DOMAIN\user" format) or the string representation of a SID ("S-1-5-xxxx-xxx..."). You can also get the identity of the current user using the static property CurrentUser.

There are a number of predefined identities that exist as static members of a child class called WellKnownIdentities. Once you have an identity, you can get the following properties:

  • AccountName: string name of the account
  • Domain: string name of the account's domain
  • FullName: string in the form of "Domain\AccountName"
  • SidString: string representation of the SID

SecuredObject class

This class represents an object which can have a security descriptor. It can be created by specifying the name of the resource along with its type or by passing a handle (as an IntPtr) to the resource.

Once you have the object, you can update the permissions, audit information, owner and group.


This class encapsulates actions on the ACL. It allows granting, revoking, changing, and denying access levels to different users. Derived from AccessList, which is a collection class for AccessEntry.


This class encapsulates actions on the auditing list of an object. It allows getting and setting audit success and failure rights. Derived from AccessList, which is a collection class for AccessEntry.


This class encapsulates the Access Control Entry or ACE. You can set the user (trustee) and the associated rights and inheritance.


This code shows the library in action. It assumes you have aliased the Microsoft.Win32.Security namespace (using in C#, Imports in VB).

// Get the current user and print their information
WindowsUser user = WindowsUser.CurrentUser;
Console.WriteLine("{0} ({1})", user.FullName, user.SidString);

// Get the current user from their token
WindowsUser duser = new WindowsUser(

// Compare users
if (user == duser)

// Get a well-known user
user = WindowsUser.WellKnownIdentities.World;

// Get a user by name from a specific server (usually a domain controller)
WindowsUser kuser = new WindowsUser("user2", @"\\MYPDC");

// Get a user by name
user = new WindowsUser("DOMAIN\\user3");

// Get a user by SID
user = new WindowsUser("S-1-5-21-21782756-1035017279-1439700725-1111");

// Get security for C:\ directory
SecuredObject sec = new SecuredObject("C:\\", SecuredObjectType.FileObject);

// Set some various permissions on the directory
sec.Permissions.SetAccess(kuser, AccessRights.FileRead,
sec.Permissions.GrantAccess(kuser, AccessRights.FileExecute,
sec.Permissions.DenyAccess(kuser, AccessRights.FileWriteUnsync,
WindowsUser owner = sec.Owner;
sec.Owner = duser;
sec.Auditing.SetAuditFailure(duser, AccessRights.FileReadUnsync,

// Revoke some access
sec.Owner = owner;
DumpObject(sec) ;

// Reset the security on the directory
sec.Permissions.InheritFromParent = true;

// Write the DACL using the Microsoft style

The following function shows how to enumerate the permissions on a security object.

static void DumpObject(SecuredObject sec)
   Console.WriteLine("Security description:");
   Console.WriteLine("Owner: {0}\nGroup: {1}", 
     sec.Owner.FullName, sec.Group.FullName);
   foreach (AccessEntry ace in sec.Permissions)
      Console.WriteLine(String.Format("  {0} : {1} : {2}", 
         ace.Inheritance, ace.Rights));
   foreach (AccessEntry ace in sec.Auditing)
      Console.WriteLine(String.Format("  {0} : {1} : {2}", 
         ace.Inheritance, ace.Rights));


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

David Hall
Chief Technology Officer
United States United States
I have been a Windows software developer since 1991. Most of what I create fills the need for some aspect of bigger projects that I consult on.

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralRe: exception question Pin
MrBonus1-Aug-06 1:46
memberMrBonus1-Aug-06 1:46 
QuestionVB 2005 issue Pin
lmwinbur13-Feb-06 19:11
memberlmwinbur13-Feb-06 19:11 
AnswerRe: VB 2005 issue Pin
bbosak23-Mar-06 11:11
memberbbosak23-Mar-06 11:11 
AnswerRe: VB 2005 issue Pin
OliProject18-Apr-07 4:27
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AnswerRe: VB 2005 issue Pin
Member 294579031-Dec-08 9:04
memberMember 294579031-Dec-08 9:04 
GeneralOn NT4.0 SP6 Machine Pin
k_udct3-Jun-05 0:22
memberk_udct3-Jun-05 0:22 
GeneralRe: On NT4.0 SP6 Machine Pin
David Hall6-Jun-05 6:27
memberDavid Hall6-Jun-05 6:27 
GeneralRe: On NT4.0 SP6 Machine Pin
k_udct8-Jun-05 4:54
memberk_udct8-Jun-05 4:54 
GeneralRe: On NT4.0 SP6 Machine Pin
David Hall8-Jun-05 5:43
memberDavid Hall8-Jun-05 5:43 
GeneralError while assigning SecurityObject Pin
VikramSaraf30-May-05 22:07
memberVikramSaraf30-May-05 22:07 
GeneralRe: Error while assigning SecurityObject Pin
David Hall6-Jun-05 6:30
memberDavid Hall6-Jun-05 6:30 
GeneralNamed pipe help Pin
erictaneda26-Dec-04 9:45
membererictaneda26-Dec-04 9:45 
GeneralQuestion about enums.h Pin
John Rusk29-Nov-04 17:36
memberJohn Rusk29-Nov-04 17:36 
GeneralRe: Question about enums.h Pin
David Hall30-Nov-04 5:51
memberDavid Hall30-Nov-04 5:51 
GeneralRe: Question about enums.h Pin
John Rusk30-Nov-04 9:32
memberJohn Rusk30-Nov-04 9:32 
GeneralAdds special permissions not regula permissions Pin
patel_o19-Nov-04 5:54
memberpatel_o19-Nov-04 5:54 
GeneralRe: Adds special permissions not regula permissions Pin
David Hall19-Nov-04 6:08
memberDavid Hall19-Nov-04 6:08 
GeneralRe: Adds special permissions not regula permissions Pin
patel_o19-Nov-04 9:36
memberpatel_o19-Nov-04 9:36 
GeneralRe: Adds special permissions not regula permissions Pin
David Hall7-Dec-04 8:07
memberDavid Hall7-Dec-04 8:07 
GeneralRe: Adds special permissions not regula permissions Pin
LiQuick9-May-06 2:16
memberLiQuick9-May-06 2:16 
GeneralRegistry ACLs Pin
James Miles / 20810974316-Nov-04 19:10
memberJames Miles / 20810974316-Nov-04 19:10 
AnswerRe: Registry ACLs Pin
fuzzylintman29-Sep-05 7:02
memberfuzzylintman29-Sep-05 7:02 
GeneralNull Reference Pin
Xe Capital25-Aug-04 7:20
memberXe Capital25-Aug-04 7:20 
QuestionGetEffectiveRights(user) does it work? Pin
gryfgryf26-Jun-04 12:38
membergryfgryf26-Jun-04 12:38 
GeneralAccessRights Error! Pin
Reisses5-Feb-04 10:06
memberReisses5-Feb-04 10:06 
GeneralRe: AccessRights Error! Pin
David Hall5-Feb-04 11:13
memberDavid Hall5-Feb-04 11:13 
GeneralRe: AccessRights Error! Pin
Reisses5-Feb-04 11:24
memberReisses5-Feb-04 11:24 
GeneralRe: AccessRights Error! Pin
David Hall5-Feb-04 11:28
memberDavid Hall5-Feb-04 11:28 
GeneralRe: AccessRights Error! Pin
Reisses5-Feb-04 11:31
memberReisses5-Feb-04 11:31 
GeneralRe: AccessRights Error! Pin
johnleonard30-Sep-04 5:48
memberjohnleonard30-Sep-04 5:48 
GeneralCan't build Pin
the_cRaCk_3-Dec-03 4:43
memberthe_cRaCk_3-Dec-03 4:43 
GeneralRe: Can't build Pin
David Hall3-Dec-03 5:12
memberDavid Hall3-Dec-03 5:12 
GeneralRe: Can't build Pin
gdumas7-Dec-03 23:48
membergdumas7-Dec-03 23:48 
GeneralRe: Can't build Pin
the_cRaCk_14-Jan-04 0:02
memberthe_cRaCk_14-Jan-04 0:02 
GeneralRe: Can't build Pin
Xe Capital23-Jul-04 8:38
memberXe Capital23-Jul-04 8:38 
GeneralRe: Can't build Pin
David Hall29-Jul-04 6:29
memberDavid Hall29-Jul-04 6:29 
GeneralRe: Can't build Pin
gibneys13-Jul-05 4:07
membergibneys13-Jul-05 4:07 
GeneralGet file security with Win32Security from Microsoft Pin
portyr24-Oct-03 1:43
memberportyr24-Oct-03 1:43 
Generalunverifiable assembly.... Pin
roglan10-Jun-03 0:12
memberroglan10-Jun-03 0:12 
GeneralRe: unverifiable assembly.... Pin
David Hall10-Jun-03 6:00
memberDavid Hall10-Jun-03 6:00 
GeneralRe: unverifiable assembly.... Pin
mpemberton3-Jul-03 8:38
membermpemberton3-Jul-03 8:38 
GeneralRe: unverifiable assembly.... Pin
Bence, Kovari16-Jan-05 0:35
memberBence, Kovari16-Jan-05 0:35 
GeneralProblem getting HKLM permissions Pin
Steve021219-May-03 16:27
memberSteve021219-May-03 16:27 
GeneralRe: Problem getting HKLM permissions Pin
David Hall20-May-03 7:29
memberDavid Hall20-May-03 7:29 
GeneralRe: Problem getting HKLM permissions Pin
Steve021220-May-03 14:57
memberSteve021220-May-03 14:57 
GeneralSecurity Classes from Microsoft Pin
David Hall6-Mar-03 6:54
memberDavid Hall6-Mar-03 6:54 
QuestionCan anyone help me? Pin
parkman5-Mar-03 9:46
memberparkman5-Mar-03 9:46 
AnswerRe: Can anyone help me? Pin
David Hall6-Mar-03 6:38
memberDavid Hall6-Mar-03 6:38 
GeneralBuilding .NET project correctly Pin
parkman4-Mar-03 9:11
memberparkman4-Mar-03 9:11 
GeneralUsing this module in commercial code Pin
Steve021220-Feb-03 16:41
memberSteve021220-Feb-03 16:41 

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